RILA Applauds Bipartisan Congressional Letter Asking for Fair Treatment of Footwear

ARLINGTON, Va., April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) applauded a letter sent today by twenty-seven Members of Congress urging U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to seek in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement updated rules on footwear that are flexible and fair to promote trade and investment in footwear among TPP member countries.

The United States charged TPP countries nearly $250 million in footwear tariffs last year.  These tariffs make footwear more expensive for American families, and updating the rules for footwear in the TPP would help to lower costs for a basic necessity.  Modern footwear rules would also benefit American workers by recognizing the hundreds of thousands of high-value American jobs devoted to design, engineering, marketing and retail distribution for footwear. 

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations offer the United States expanded opportunity to enter into a new free trade zone that will lead to economic growth and job creation in the U.S.," said Congressman Aaron Schock. "These negotiations provide the ideal opportunity to reverse the costly trade policies that are adversely impacting U.S. companies, such as the footwear industry, which will ultimately help grow the U.S. economy and benefit domestic consumers," said Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL).

"Innovative companies in Oregon have helped double the Portland region's exports over the past decade to more than $21 billion. As the U.S. explores new trading relationships across the Pacific, we have an opportunity to support these companies as they create the high skill, high wage jobs our community needs for the future as well as provide consumers with increased choice and value," said Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

"RILA supports a 21st Century TPP agreement that includes flexible and commercially-relevant rules for footwear that promote trade and investment in the TPP region," said Stephanie Lester, vice president of international trade.

"We applaud Congressmen Schock and Blumenauer for their leadership in promoting modern footwear rules in the TPP.  We thank all 27 Congressional supporters for adding their voice to the growing chorus that seeks to change outdated footwear rules to facilitate hundreds of thousands of American jobs and to help make footwear more affordable for American families," concluded Lester.

In their letter, the bipartisan group of members commended Kirk for his commitment to a 21st century agreement and acknowledged  that a new approach to footwear trade would enable the United States to support high-value design, engineering and marketing jobs in the footwear industry. Updated footwear rules would also aid in achieving areas of export interest to the United States in the TPP agreement, such as industrial goods, agricultural and services market access and in securing strong protections for investors and intellectual property rights.

The letter to Kirk was spearheaded by Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and signed by twenty-seven members, including: Representatives John Barrow (D-GA), July Biggert (R-IL), Diane Black (R-TN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Paul Broun (R-GA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), Fransisco Canesco (R-TX), Stephen Cohen (D-TN),

David Dreier (R-CA), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Mike Kelly (R-PA) Wally Herger (R-CA), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Billy Long (R-MO), Greg Meeks (D-NY), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Jared Polis (D-CO), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Greg Walden (R-OR).  The full text of the letter is available below.

RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad

SOURCE Retail Industry Leaders Association



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